Pharmacists Must Take Action! Don’t Let Washington Change Healthcare Without Pharmacy Input

For years, pharmacists have been forced to sit in the dark on national health care issues even though year after year pharmacists are voted one of the most trusted sectors of all health professions.

Pharmacists work very hard and very long hours. They see more patients than any other health care professional. And, they are required to be educated and up to date on information in accordance with their profession as required by law and by many other professional standards, not the least of which is their own desire to ensure they know everything they can to help whomever they can.

So, the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA), in collaboration with the American Pharmacists Association’s (APhA) recent mailings encouraging pharmacists to get in touch with legislators, wants to make sure that law and policy makers hear the voice of pharmacy.

Please see the information below received directly from APhA and use it as a template for your communication with Congressmen, Congresswomen and Senators who will decide what path pharmacy takes in the following years.

If you have any questions about how you can help get the word out about pharmacy, contact the Missouri Pharmacy Association for directives at (573) 636-7522.

Urge Your Legislators to Recognize the Value of Pharmacists’ Services

Dear Pharmacist:

We need your help! This week, instead of sending you our regularly scheduled Legislative & Regulatory Update, we are asking for your help to secure a seat for pharmacists at the health care reform debate “table”. With several Members of Congress currently drafting their proposals, now is the time for them to hear from you about the valuable role that pharmacists can play in reforming our health care system.

In fact, while one recent health care reform proposal highlighted the need for addressing chronic disease, increasing collaboration, using non-physician providers, and facilitating patient self-empowerment – there was no specific mention of the role of the pharmacist in this 100+ page document. We are also aware that other Members of Congress are drafting health care reform bills based on specific state-based collaborative models that do not include pharmacists.

Please take a few moments to contact your legislators to educate them about the valuable role that pharmacists can play in improving the health of patients and to urge their inclusion of pharmacists services in their proposals.

Action:
Urge your Members of Congress to recognize the role pharmacists can play to help advance their health care reform efforts.
1. Click on the following link to enter the Legislative Action Center: Legislative Action Center
2. Enter your zip-code and click “Go”
3. Edit the pre-written letter as you see fit
4. Enter your name and address and select “Send Message”

Targets:
All Members of Congress.

Sample Letter:
Dear (Name):
I am writing as a pharmacist and constituent about health care reform to encourage you to recognize the critical role that pharmacists can play in improving patient outcomes while reducing overall health care costs.

Like you, pharmacists are interested in shifting our health care system to a quality-based approach, and see patient access to pharmacist-provided patient care services as an absolutely essential step to achieving this objective. These services can help to ensure proper medication use while improving medication adherence, both of which improve therapeutic outcomes and reduce overall health care costs. Such services will empower patients by educating them on their conditions and helping them become active participants in their health care decisions.

As a pharmacist, I am one of the most accessible health care providers. Unfortunately, my medication expertise is one of the most underutilized resources on the health care team. Pharmacists are in the unique position to help physicians with the coordination of care for patients with complex medication regimens, especially for those with chronic illnesses who constitute the bulk of our current health care spending.

As you consider how to improve our nation’s health care system, I urge you not to overlook the valuable role that pharmacists can play in improving the health of your constituents. These services are provided to many patients in the private sector and some public programs. Now is the time to provide Medicare beneficiaries access to these necessary services.
Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions. I welcome the opportunity to discuss how pharmacists can improve the quality of our health care system services.

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